The defendants applied for the defence statements of co-defendants to be disclosed. A co-defendant was to give evidence for the Crown, and they sought to have it excluded as unreliable.
Held: The 1996 Act created a duty of secondary disclosure, where a defence statement might be of assistance to the co-defendants. Actual disclosure remained for the judgement of the prosecution. A court was not under a duty not to admit evidence which might be in whole or in part unreliable. It was necessary to construe legislation to accord with a defendant’s human rights, and the statements should have been disclosed.
The defendants had been convicted of conspiracy to supply class A drugs. Two defendants appealed saying that court had been wrong to suggest that a co-defendant’s evidence was reliable as regards themselves, but unreliable as regards other witnesses. Mrs Cairns said that she had acted under the marital coercion of the same witness.
Held: ‘The prosecution may properly call a witness when they rely on one part of his evidence but not on another part. Whether they choose to call such a witness is a matter for their discretion . . But that does not amount to an attack on their own witness’s credit.’
In the light of that the prosecution was entitled to exercise its discretion, as it did. It was not a perverse or unreasonable exercise of discretion and the judge was right not to interfere with it. Nor was the calling Barry Cairns an abuse of process. The court had followed the Makanjuola guidelines, and the appeal on that basis failed.
The judge had exercised a proper discretion in not allowing separate trials.
As to the defence of marital coercion, the judge’s direction was incorrect as to the meaning of coercion in not allowing clearly that such coercion may operate without physical violence. Also, following Jespers, the court should have disclosed the defence statements of two of the co-accusd since this would have assisted Mrs Cairns in her defence. Her appeal was allowed, but not that of the co-defendants.
Keene, LJ, Forbes, Rant JJ
Times 02-Dec-2002, Gazette 23-Jan-2003,  EWCA Crim 2838,  1 WLR 796,  Crim LR 403,  1 Cr App Rep 38
Cited – Regina v Pacey CACD 3-Mar-1994
The prosecutor invited the jury to convict contrary to the evidence of his own witness. The Crown had called a witness to establish a crucial fact, as it saw it, that the knife used in the killing on the ground floor had been kept upstairs and . .
Cited – Regina v Brown and Brown CACD 1997
The court discussed the duties on the prosecutor as to the calling of evidence, saying: ‘Counsel for the prosecution enjoys a discretion whether to call or to tender a particular witness whom he has required to attend. Further, counsel may refuse . .
Cited – Regina v Russell-Jones CACD 1995
The Crown cannot be required to adduce evidence which (or to tender for cross-examination a witness whose evidence) is not capable of belief: ‘. . . the prosecution ought normally to call or offer to call all the witnesses who give direct evidence . .
Cited – Regina v Lake CACD 1976
Subject to a judge’s discretion to order separate trials in the interests of justice, there are powerful public reasons why joint offences should be tried jointly. . .
Cited – Regina v Miller 1952
The fact that a defendant has previous convictions is not normally relevant: ‘The fundamental principle, equally applicable to any question that is asked by the defence as to any question that is asked by the prosecution, is that it is not normally . .
Cited – Regina v Makanjuola CACD 17-May-1995
Guidance was given on the directions to be given to the jury where a co-accused speaks for prosecution as a witness and in sexual assault cases. The full corroboration warning is not now needed; the Judge may use his own discretion, and may give a . .
Cited – Regina v Shortland CACD 23-May-1995
The defendant had made a false statement in order to obtain the issue of a passport. She had signed in the name of a deceased child, but claimed that she had been non-violently coerced by her husband.
Held: Coercion of a wife by her husband . .
Cited – Jespers v Belgium ECHR 1981
ECHR (Commission) Article 6, paragraph I of the Convention
(a) A virulent press campaign can, in certain circumstances, adversely affect the fairness of a trial and involve the State’s responsibility, . .
Cited – Regina v Tibbs CACD 28-Feb-2000
The meaning of a defence as included in a defence statement refers to a defence in its general sense. Where the facts supporting a defence statement differed when the matter came to trial it was correct for the defendant to be cross-examined about . .
Cited – David McHugh, Regina v CACD 20-Jun-2003
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Criminal Practice, Human Rights, Criminal Evidence, Crime
Updated: 06 June 2022; Ref: scu.178304